London’s radical approach to a 2050 infrastructure vision

Isabel Dedring, London deputy mayor for transport

Providing the vital infrastructure to drive the capital's economy will mean finding new business models for delivery, says London deputy mayor for transport Isabel Dedring.

London is home to more people than at any time since 1939. This story of success means its current population of 8.6M is set to grow to over 11M by 2050.

Modern integrated infrastructure is vital if we are to safeguard the quality of life for this number of Londoners and will require much greater spending than ever seen before.

The latest London 2050 Infrastructure Plan – the first of its kind for the Capital - is our attempt to not only identify the need but also to steer a path towards creating the business plans that will ensure aspiration can be funded and financed over the next decades and beyond.

Central to our goal is to ensure that infrastructure is prioritised and delivered so that all Londoners benefit from access to green space, good transport connections, decent homes sustainably supplied with energy and water – and that all Londoners are included in the digital revolution.

“The reality is that the current centralised decision-making system for funding is no longer fit for purpose”

To achieve this, new innovative models of planning and design, delivery, funding and financing will be critical to ensure that major investment decisions are shaped by a more holistic view of the city’s needs with greater control and accountability given at local levels.

The reality is that the current centralised decision-making system for funding is no longer fit for purpose in today’s city-focused climate. A new approach to long-term strategic planning and funding with more integrated, devolved decision making is needed if we are to unlock the economic growth, jobs and housing London needs.

In response we have created the London Infrastructure Delivery Board (LIDB) formed of key industry stakeholders to help identify and maximise the opportunities. Working with the London 2050 Infrastructure Plan we will start to move towards our vision for effective infrastructure delivery in London.

We will concentrate on programme planning across infrastructure projects and working with all relevant stakeholders, initially focused on so-called Opportunity Areas for large-scale development. The LIDB will take an active role in Old Oak Common, the Upper Lee Valley and North Bexley as three case studies.

"This work marks the beginning of a much longer-term process of delivering infrastructure for the capital."

More will follow and we are developing a Programme Plan across key sites and major pan-London projects – and a new digital mapping system - to look at each Opportunity Area to create a long-term overview of potential infrastructure delivery across London.

The regulatory system in place to support infrastructure is key and we will work with Ofgem, Ofwat and Ofcom as part of the LIDB to challenge regulations that restrict optimal infrastructure investment.

This work marks the beginning of a much longer-term process of delivering infrastructure for the capital. It is an evolving tool and our work to prioritise and refine London’s infrastructure requirements and reshaping the institutions for delivery will be ongoing,

Isabel Dedring is London deputy mayor for transport


That's a sensible long term approach to take. Regionally and nationally we would benefit from accountable yet quasi-autonomous infrastructure boards with political oversight and the ear of the treasury to ensure a prioritised stream of infrastructure investment projects are identified, funded and delivered in a timely fashion. I sincerely hope though that Isabel Dedring's desire to prioritise investment in London does not come to fruition. The other 51.4 M people who don't live in the area are getting a little miffed at how London is habitually showered with blessings whilst the rest of us are begrudgingly tossed partially, masticated scraps.